27 September 2012

Invasion, maybe? (part 2)

I finished the last entry with us having demolished an unexpected visitor with an unexpected POS. We were at a loss to understand the motives and we were now under wardec for some bizarre reason. I had just caught a Loki from a merc corp in my catch bubble. Was this the end? Would Zero Return Mining Inc. be looking for a new home soon?

While I was contemplating our survival chance if we attacked the Loki who was now eating my catch bubble, a corpmate jumped into C4a to gather intel. He reported fifteen ships, from Strategic cruisers to Logistics and HICs, all sitting waiting on the other side of the hole. It may have been my imagination, but his voice was a little higher pitched than usual. We decided not to engage. This was properly looking like an invasion except for one thing. There was a clue that the mercenary corp was not here to invade and displace us - their appearance was through our C4a static wormhole which led to a dead end. If they had been rolling holes to find us our visitors would have arrived via a K162.

The second clue was their announcement that we should convo them if we wanted to save our POCO. That's a threat to draw out a fight, nothing more and nothing less. Given they were going to ask for ISK and we were going to refuse there was no point in following those instructions. Frustrated, they sent a single Tengu off to plink away at one of our POCOs. I figured he'd be there a while before getting through 1% of the POCO defences. A mere eight minutes later our erstwhile invaders got bored and left. Their parting message in local informed us of their disappointment in us. Sorry guys, we saw your force and decided discretion was the better part of valour.

The rest of the evening was quiet. Our number of connections slowly decreased and I took a peek into the home system of our invasion force. Fifteen large towers?! Glad I don't have any part in their fuel logistics. But, what about our wardec and optimistic invader of the previous night? Was there more to come?

The following morning I was up early and ready for action. Chatting with come corpmates there was a sudden exclamation from the wife who had been roused from sleep a few nights earlier to help bash our invader. She'd just noticed her husbands EVEMon running with an unfamiliar character in it; a character who had a familiar name; a character who may have been anchoring a POS in our home system...

My mail to the alliance explains it best:

War update
From: Oreamnos Amric
To: Illusion of Solitude [IOS]

Hey folks, 
As you may have seen the wardec against IoS has been dropped. There is a funny story behind all this and there was never any danger (more than we normally have in W-space) behind Shirley's invasion and the subsequent wardec. 
It turns out one of Zero's members was a little bored and a little drunk. He decided to take an alt into our Shirley and plonk a tower down while at the same time assisting on the capture and killing of said alt, followed by the bashing of said POS, waking his wife to help and composing threatening mails to himself. 
All in all the response mounted by Zero to a perceived threat was excellent. While the antagonist's actions may have been known to one member of the response (himself), all the other people who got on to help had no idea and I commend them all for the reaction and eviction of our 'invader'. 
Said member of Zero is apparently a little sheepish of his actions and says 'sorry'. 
Back now we go to wormhole life as normal.

So there we have it. Our very own little live event complete with the unexpected garnish of wandering mercenaries. To be fair, almost everyone in the alliance thought the whole episode was both funny and brilliant. It changed up the pace of our life for a while and sharpened us up a little. None of that is bad.

Postface: I would like to thank people who read my previous post and mailed me offering support in the event we did need to defend our home system. While we're not bad at mounting a defence if we need to, it's really nice to know there are people who are willing to assist us. Especially as we often are targets to each other. You know who you are, thanks.

25 September 2012

Invasion, maybe?

Wormhole space can do strange things to the systems on your ship. It can also do strange things to the people who live there. Maybe it's the solitude of living in deep space, not knowing where your next exit to more accessible and mapped regions will be. Maybe it's the more-than-slightly hypnotic qualities of a pulsating wormhole when you're assigned to running intel duties. Whatever reason, strange things can happen.

Very recently something strange happened to one of our pilots which he has subsequently attributed to Quafe cider. It was late and I was scouting our newest member into our home system. The entry from K-space was  two jumps through W-space and there was also a link to a class six system from that wormhole. As we were coming in, I had just warped off to the next connection when the new pilot announced a Badger was on d-scan. Being tired I decided it was not a big deal and I couldn't be bothered hunting for it - the lure of a comfy bunk was too enticing. I hit the sack and killed comms.

Next morning I checked my mailbox to find a rather startling sequence of events had occurred whilst I was isolated.
From: ######
To: ######
Well sort of., Some 9 day old idiot in a badger has put up a tower in shirley. (Either he's an idiot, or the best bait in the world.)
Come on comms, get information and if you log in to game, do not log into an obvious pvp ship, Be in a cloaky ship.
Oh my, what has happened? It turned out the Badger I had flippantly ignored had arrived in our home system less than an hour after I switched off the lights and anchored a tower. Said 'idiot' was swiftly dispatched back to hisec using the fast lane. Thus followed requests for guns to dispatch the anchored tower, including one pilot waking his wife to help, and finally a report that there were two hours of Strontium in its bay.
Re: Invasion!
From: ######
To: ######
Enemy tower comes out of reinforcement at 0610 EVE time.
If you are available then, we would really appreciate the help.
If I'd been paying attention I could have been awake for that. Sadly I wasn't and on checking my mail the following message was already waiting:
Re: Invasion!
From: ######
To: ######
Kill: Amarr Control Tower Small 
today - Santa is dead!
The biggest question was: "What the hell was that all about?". Were we really dealing with a nine day old noob or was there a more experience hand guiding this new pilot? The actions and activities of this new pilot suggested something deeper was afoot. His ship was disguised using our naming convention, his tower was named similar to an existing tower of ours. Suspicions were raised that this was a fishing operation to see what our response would be. Did we have more coming? What the hell? A wardec by him? Now we were totally confused. If he was part of an invasion force why would he waste ISK on a wardec?

From: ######
To: ###### 
you pay for that. we just wanted to share. no need!!!!!!!!!!!
Re: :(
From: ######
To: ######

By now I was now fully awake, if somewhat confused. My morning was spent turning 'dickstar mode' to eleven on our POSs just in case. Non-essential structures were put offline and all resists and EWAR were onlined. After that we could only wait and see what was going to happen. And wait, and wait and wait.

That day we had no less that four connections into our normally solitary section of space. I decided it would be fun to drop a stop bubble between the route from our static C4 and our visiting C2. This was mainly because the C4 had a C6 static and I was hoping to relieve the excitement from the past few hours with an easy hauler kill... Oh, a Loki landed in my bubble. He's from a wormhole mercenary corp. Aw, crap...

---To Be Continued---

12 September 2012

Man Down

R.I.P. - Vile Rat

I never knew Vile Rat/Sean Smith or had any dealings with him. I did know of him and I heard only good things about him. Some things in the world truly make no sense and the senseless attack in which Sean Smith lost his life in is one of those things.

Someone somewhere suggested in a comment that there should be a permanent memorial put up in VFK. I mean, why the hell not. I could support that even though I'd likely never see it.

11 September 2012

Intel Gathering

I came online today to receive an IM from a corp mate. He was pointing out a new intel tool he had stumbled across on the very slick domain name of wormhol.es. The aim of this tool is to:

"provide wormhole adventurers with a quick and easy way of finding out more information about what has gone on in whichever wormhole they have ventured into. It analyses information from a variety of sources and attempts to identify significant activity that has occured, and using algorithms attempts to identify who is and has been resident."
 The information provided includes the expected static connections you might find, the recent PvE and PvP combat statistics, who probably lives there and what they like to fly, finally you are given the most recent kill in the system courtesy of eve-kill.net.

All the useful information you could ever need

Of course the first thing I checked was the intel available for the wormholes occupied by my corp and the academy corp in my alliance. The intel seems reasonably active although the active timezone guess was a little off. Closer inspection shows the percentages used to estimate the active timezone. Possibly a tweak to the code to allow more than one active timezone would be useful as our active periods are barely split on percentages.

The site has the facilities to use the extra information provided by the in-game browser. If you grant trust to this site you are able to hit the refresh button and fetch the intel for your current location. The site claims it only uses this information for updating the viewed page but I am paranoid - this is EVE after all. I'll definitely be using this site, but from the safety of an out-of-game browser.

6 September 2012

Pushing My Luck Too Far

After being away on holiday for a week I decided to make as much of a full day of EVE as I could today. I logged on before downtime to get a fix on the current sigs in my home system. Amazingly there were four grav sites kicking around. I was later told that these sites just wouldn't die and had been with us for too long now. The fifth sig was also bookmarked making my life nice and easy. I logged off and had lunch.

Logging back in a little while later found a corpie off into C4a scanning a route to hisec. I pottered around with other corp administrivia while she took care of scanning. Flashing from the 'Local' channel eventually caught my eye and it was a message from someone cheerily announcing they closed our static. I checked whether my corpie was home or not. She wasn't and now had no route home. Right, time for me to ignore the admin stuff and get to work  to find a route while she did the same.

A quick check revealed a sixth sig had cheekily appeared in our home system while I was doing paperwork. Checking C4a I found it had a static C3 somewhere. It also had pilots in a Curse and Tengu. I watched for a little while to see if they would turn into easy targets. They didn't and as I had a job to do I quickly got bored waiting and headed off to inspect our K162.

The K162 lead me to a class 3 wormhole with a static hisec. Music to my ears. I quickly scanned it all out while also watching a Badger do nothing interesting, then a pod do nothing interesting, then an Orca... You get the picture. The static hisec turned out nice and close to both Jita and Amarr. My corpie got herself back home safely while I exported some sleeper loot acquired by the corp over my holidays.

With such an easy route I then started to export all the corp PI purchasing I possible could. After eight return trips I then decided I should probably fly in some POS fuel. My first run went great but on the second run I landed on and jumped through the hole from hisec at exactly the same time as a Proteus did. I wasn't overly bothered by this as I could just jump back to hisec. I waited out the session timer, reapproached the wormhole and clicked the jump button. Strangely I didn't jump back to the safety of hisec. Instead I received a warning on my screen about being polarized. My brain processed this message as if jumping would make me polarized rather than the actual message that I was already polarized. It took three attempts before I recognised the wording of the error to actually say "You're screwed".


After getting my pod to safety I convoed my executioner to thank them for reminding me of the dangers of polarization. I had a nice chat with them talking about their life in a C6 and the relative ISK increase in payouts (about 50% greater per pilot). Eventually I bade them farewell and logged off. My intel informed me that the killer logged off about five minutes after me so I waited around an hour then flew back in with a perfect copy of the deceased Iteron V. Given it wasn't mine I figured I should probably replace it.

Lesson learned: Watch your polarization timers and don't work too fast.

3 September 2012

Podded by Concord

I figured it would be fun to go down a controversial route today. Looking forward to your comments of rage.

Concord should be punishing people who commit crimes in hisec by podding them and issuing a fine.

No, this is not an anti-goon rant against Hulkageddon type activities, or the recent trend to gank freighters en route between Amarr and Jita. While that is not my chosen thing to do I am happy with there being people out there who do that. I'm even happy that those people are able to do it. Let's face it, the main difference between hisec and lowsec is only a perceived feeling of safety. So far in 2012 there has been almost the same number of ships killed in hisec as in lowsec, nullsec and wormhole space combined. That's not particularly safe, is it? Yet people feel safe autopiloting around willy-nilly in untanked haulers and Orcas. Something they would never do in 0.4 but are happy to do in 0.5.

If I don't have a problem with the crime why, then, do I have an issue with the current punishment? On TV there is a vast number of Police car chase programs. While the sequence of events that leads up to each chase will vary, the general recipe is the same: police detect criminal in a vehicle; police try to stop criminal; criminal flees; police chase; criminal crashes.

In my mind the above sequence of events isn't too dissimilar to EVE. In New Eden what we find is: Crime happens which Concord instantly know about; Concord arrive at the scene of the crime; Concord blow up criminal. It's at this point things fall down. Once Concord blows up your ship you are free to go. Sure, players can take pot-shots at your pod but the police are happy for you to do whatever you want. Unless you get another ship too soon, that is.

Consider a scenario where the police are chasing a murderer and in order to stop the criminal they ram his car off the road. The car gets written off due to the resulting damage. Imagine the public outrage if the police then let they guy go provided he doesn't get into another car too soon. Said fellow waits out this period of time, gets a new car and goes off to kill someone else. Make sense?

Here's what I think should happen. Once Concord blow up the criminal they should try to catch his pod and explode that too. This is the equivalent to the police not only stopping a criminal but arresting him as well. Finally, that criminal should be fined in the station for criminal activities. From a gankers point of view all this does is increase the 'operating costs' for their illegal activities. Now, as well as replacing ships they need to replace clones and pay fines.

It is worth making life a little more fun for these hisec pirates though. They should have the ability to warp their pod free from the exploding ship if they are quick enough. The understanding here being that ship destruction is a guaranteed punishment but it may be possible to escape with your pod and without being fined. Simply docking or jumping out of system isn't a route to safety, however. Stations will be aware you are a criminal and won't let you dock. Gates will let you leave but if the next system is also hisec then Concord will start chasing you there too. In fact, the only way to avoid being podded and fined is to get to lowsec or nullsec (or jump through a wormhole).

What gains does this give us in game? Well, carebears get the satisfaction of a more robust penalty against the 'bad guys'. Hisec griefing becomes slightly less interesting due to higher costs. The 'professionals' will still do it as they can work the costs into making sure they only gank the best targets. Finally these criminals can choose the excitement of a 'car chase' across the skies seeking safe haven. Seems like a genius idea to me. What say you?